Couple Relationship, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Goodbye 2020. Hello 2021~ Word of the Year

We are coming to the end of 2020. How is 2020 treating you? No matter how odd this year has been, it still comes to an end. 

Before I discuss my 2020 review and the new year resolution, let me rewind to the fall of 2017 first. I saw a news clip on Facebook about a Japanese Temple choosing a Kanji (meaning Chinese characters) to represent the significant event that happened in Japan during that year. I thought the story interesting and wondered what word would I choose for myself. 

Then, again, on Facebook, I saw a link about A Year in Compass at the end of the year. In the website, it invited people to review the past year in different categories: personal life and family, belongings (home, objects), friends/community, intellectual, finances, work/studies/profession, relaxation/hobbies/creativity, health/fitness, emotional/spiritual, and the bucket list. It was quite extensive. I was pretty impressed with the idea of reviewing the year before setting up the new year resolution. I am also impressed with the idea of setting goals in different areas in life, instead of just a list of the goals. So, I decided to try. 

Word of the Year

After I started to review my year of 2017 and set up my new year resolution for 2018, I realized that I need something simple to capture the overall goals. That was when I connected the idea of the word of the year. 

For the year 2017, I chose the word “important” for 2018.

For the year 2018, I chose the word “worthy” for 2019.

For the year 2019, I chose the word “connected” for 2020.

Continue reading “Goodbye 2020. Hello 2021~ Word of the Year”
Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

“What Ifs” (Part II) — “I trust in myself.”

(Curious about the Part I? Part I is here)

CBT control and anxietyClients will sometimes tell me the previous experiences of not thinking enough “what-ifs,” and the traumatic feelings came with the not preparing enough, not planning enough, or not listening to their gut instincts.

Sometimes, clients will share thier childhood trauma that connected to anxiety. For example, they were punished for something that a child can’t see it coming. Or, because of the abuse in the family, they were trained to be observant to cope with the abuse.

Sometimes, clients will tell me that they have never had any failed experiences in the past, and therefore, it is even more anxiety-provoking to have to maintain that record.

Continue reading ““What Ifs” (Part II) — “I trust in myself.””

Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

“What-Ifs” (Part I) — Control and Anxiety

The sense of “control” is often related to anxiety. I saw someone posted a picture on Instagram about anxiety. In this Instagram picture, a man is having an internal dialogue with his anxiety. It goes like this:Whatifs


Anxiety: “What if this happens?
Me: “But it won’t.
Anxiety: “But what if it does?
Me: “You got me there.



I replied to this post with the following statement:

Me: If it happens, I will trust myself to have the ability to weather anything that comes into my way. I don’t have to worry about what’s because I can trust myself.

Continue reading ““What-Ifs” (Part I) — Control and Anxiety”

COVID-19, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

COVID- 19 Week 6 (4/20 to 4/24) Journal

flash II Training 2Moving into week 6 (4/20 to 4/27), I am tired and exhausted from another weekend training. I also found myself settling into a routine in the past few Sundays. I usually ran out of the house early Sunday morning, waiting in the line outside Market Basket, hoping to get the cleaning supplies but no luck, and then, driving to Target, Walmart, and then CVS in the hunt of Lysol and Clorox, often with no luck.

I felt depressed over the weekend and decided that I can’t continue to do this routine on Sundays after another weekend of EMDR Webinar. So, I decided to give up my “Lysol & Clorox” hunt past weekend.

The positive news this week is that most of the people who stayed in therapy or returned to therapy since five weeks ago continued to stabilize.

I saw some of my clients who were first respondents, and luckily, the Flash Technique I learned in the last two weekends have been helpful to them.

The not-so-great news this week was the EMDR with some clients who haven’t gone through EMDR processing with me in the office didn’t go well. There were many reasons why their EMDR sessions didn’t go well. The main reason was this was the first time they experienced the Phase 4 processing at home, and there were many confusion, but I wasn’t there to hold their hands. The 2nd reason was there were many emotions popping up during the Phase 4 processing, and that could be overwhelming. In the meantime, I wasn’t there to hold their hands while they were experiencing these overwhelming emotions. The 3rd reason was due to privacy. Some of them didn’t have secure privacy at home, and to try out the processing was very anxiety-provoking for them. To sum up, as much as I am grateful for the Telehealth to allow me to continue to support my clients, the presence of the human contact is needed. 

So, this is something to keep in mind for future reference. It would be wise to incorporate the Flash Technique for those new clients who have not yet to experience phase 4 processing in the beginning. The other takeaway is the importance of human presence. From the attachment theory perspective, I am establishing myself as a new secure attachment figure for the clients. My physical presence with them helps to develop a sense of security. Online Telehealth can only go this far.

The highlight of the week is the announcement that the school will be closed for the remaining of the school year. Many clients are concerned about how to help their children to cope with this news. As to me, I also start to wonder if I should take a break.

Here are some interesting articles about the effectivenss of Telehealth that you might be interested in reading.

Telemedicine: The Good, the Bad, the Pleasantly Surprising

The reason Zoom calls drain your energy

How to Actually Have a Successful Teletherapy Appointment

COVID-19, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Stress Reaction- Overthinking

C9E6B3FC-1211-465B-AC05-0EE562000D52_4_5005_cI sprained my ankle last week. Yeah, I know, right? How can this happen?

The answer is: I was too occupied with everything going on. When I got a chance to go out for a run, I was thinking about everything I needed to do and moving my schedule and tasks around my head. So, I didn’t see the stones on the road and by the time I was on the ground, it was too late.

It took me a good minute to finally got up. Luckily, I was only a mile away from home and it wasn’t too difficult to drag my bump ankle home.


So, in the past five days, all I can do was got up, plan my day, meditate, and work. I started to feel my mood sour and tank after so many days just sitting around.

Being an Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapist, I know it’s important I cope with the stress bottom up (meaning not from my head but with my body). This morning, I decided to do some yoga. I did about 15 minutes of Sun Salutation and about a minute of Toe Stretches to stretch out my sprained ankle.

Here is the link for the Sun Salutation, a very easy one.

Here are the YouTube Yoga website I commonly visited for your reference.

Here are the appts for meditation I often used to help me calm dwon with my anxiety.

I felt great when I looked at the sun rise outside of my window while I saluted to the Sun.

Overthinking? Maybe moving around your body for about 10-15 minutes will be helpful.

Now, onward with our day. May your day be healthy and safe.

COVID-19, Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

Stress Reaction — Stress Eating

What’s yours tress reaction? A few friends and I were talking about “stress eating” due to coping with COVID-19. It got me to think about the stress reaction.

One of my stress reaction, somatically, is hives. I don’t usually “feel” stress. When I was writing my doctoral dissertation, I had hives the entire year. I went to see three different doctors and they did bunch of test for allergy. I was severely allergic to cats, dogs, and mold. Otherwise, it’s just the regular seasonal allergy. So, one of the doctors suggested that my hives might be the reaction to stress. “Stress?” I think, “How could it be possible. I don’t “feel” stress.” I was telling the truth. I really didn’t feel it but my body was telling me what I didn’t feel. How do I know that? I defended my dissertation with one of the eyes swollen with hives but it disappeared few hours after I finished my defense.

What’s your stress reaction that you are not aware but showing up somatic? In this coming week, pay attention to yourself about your stress reaction.

Oh, as to my stress eating, this is what I did. I posted this sign on my refrigerator to remind myself.  Does it work? Yeah, sometimes, I was able to stop myself from opening the refrigerator but sometimes I just say to myself: “oh, well, I am going to eat that no matter what.” Haha.



Depression/Anxiety, Trauma

[Depression & Anxiety] YouTube Yoga

YouTube Yoga

I started practicing yoga in 2011 to help ease my growing knee pain due to running. Surprisingly, practicing yoga helped the pain in my knees, and I have been on and off practicing it ever since. Because I have to accommodate the needs of the clients who come to therapy before and after the traditional working hours, I have difficulty to go to the yoga studio regularly. In the last few years, I have been relying on “YouTube Yoga” to help me sustain my yoga practice.

Research has found yoga helpful in coping with trauma, stress, depression, and anxiety. I listed all the research articles I have read at the bottom of this entry for your references.

If you have never tried yoga before, I highly recommended that you take some classes in the local yoga studio with the certified teachers. When we do yoga at home while watching the video, we are not able to see our own postures because the eyes are on TV. It’s essential to have the teacher to watch out for you in the beginning until you are familiar with the basics of the yoga postures.

However, if you can’t afford to go to the studio or your schedule is not flexible, please start by all the foundational yoga postures in these channels to get yourself familiar with all the basic poses before you try the entire class. 

Here are the channels I have tried and would like to share with you. Before I get into the details of why I like each channel, I want to answer this commonly asked question: how do you know which one you are going to do? My first criteria are “how much time do I have?” Most of the channels created the playlist based on the length of the program. I generally go into the playlist with the time I have. My second criteria are how I feel about my body at the moment. If I feel very sore, I might do a deep stretch. If I feel the need to have more exercise, I might go with a flow type of yoga. Most of the channels provide the playlist that group the similar type of yoga together.  Continue reading “[Depression & Anxiety] YouTube Yoga”

Couple Relationship, Depression/Anxiety

New Year Resolution 2019: Take Charge of the Change

scrabble resolutions
Photo by Breakingpic on

Now that the Holiday season is coming to the end, most people are at the “the resolution preparation” mode. I certainly feel my 2018 flies by so quickly, especially at the end of 2018. Earlier this year, I made a decision to move my office to a new location. In October, I started to plan the move and in November, I was busy with the move. In December, I am still adjusting to the new office and still trying to put everything to its place.

I certainly have a lot of changes in 2018.

As I reflect this past year and the decision to move, I realized that I had learned something about CHANGE to help with my 2019 planning.

Continue reading “New Year Resolution 2019: Take Charge of the Change”

Depression/Anxiety, Podcast of the Week

[Podcast of the Week]{12/17/18} 10 Non-Psychological Causes of Anxiety And Depression

pow 121718Anxiety and depression are the two most commonly known mental health issues adults facing in the USA. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40% of the adults 18 years and older suffer from Anxiety, and 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older has Major Depressive disorder.


So, anxiety and depression are “mind” problem, right? I engage in meditation, exercise, and yoga to maintain my mental health and have read many articles about how different cardio and breathing activities can help to calm our brain and to help with depression and anxiety. So, is there anything non-psychological related that have a connection with depression and anxiety?

Continue reading “[Podcast of the Week]{12/17/18} 10 Non-Psychological Causes of Anxiety And Depression”

Depression/Anxiety, Podcast of the Week

[Podacst of the Week][12/3/18] Angry? Try Loving Kindness

pow120318Anger is one of the seven innate emotions. (Anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, trust, and joy are seven innate/primary emotions, meaning, not learned). Anger is also commonly seen feelings in the therapy room. Many clients said: “I don’t like myself getting angry.” Many spouses said: “I don’t talk to my partner because he/she gets angry.”

Somehow, we can’t avoid anger because it’s an innate, but we don’t like angry responses because it pushes people and ourselves away.  Continue reading “[Podacst of the Week][12/3/18] Angry? Try Loving Kindness”